March 01, 2017
Nadi made a clean sweep of all New Zealand Fiji Football Inc (NZFFI) titles by winning the Battle of the Giants at Bill Mckinlay Park in Auckland over the weekend.
Featuring the likes of Tim Myers, Paul Ifill, James Hoyt, Rinal Prasad, Salesh Kumar and Noa Vukica, Nadi ended Ba’s three year reign by convincingly beating them 3-0 in the final.
Ba boasted the services of Solomon Islands star Benji Totori, Jospeh Dawkins and Taslim Rahman.
A red card to defender Sheik Moshin and a second half hat-trick from lethal striker Sam Mason Smith allowed Nadi to reign supreme.
The champs however did not have a smooth sailing in the tournament as they had to regroup and come out stronger after losing 2-0 to Nasinu in pool play.
They were also taken to the wire in the quarterfinals by a tough Rewa outfit and had to come from behind with 10 men to equalize in the dying stages of the match and win in penalty shootout with goalkeeper Ravinesh Narayan proving to the savior.
Nadi Manager Kartik Reddy said the win was special for them as they now have all the tournament trophies in their cabinet.
He said the team is dedicating the victory to team owner Neelesh Ram and his family who are currently mourning the loss of their father.
“It is a great achievement to make a clean sweep of all titles. All thanks to the boys who dug in deep after our loss to Nasinu in pool play and fought hard for the victory,” he said.
By Reginald Chandar